Tri-colored Heron, Egretta tricolor (breeding plumage):
Saint Augustine Alligator Farm; Saint Augustine, Florida
The Tricolor Heron is one of my favorites of the heron clan. When I began birding, back in the day, it was called the Louisiana Heron. But long before the AOU changed the name to Louisiana Heron, it was known as "Audubon’s Heron". Of all the names, Audubon’s Heron is my favorite, and no one has ever described this bird more beautifully than Audubon, himself.
“Delicate in form, beautiful in plumage, and graceful in its movements, I never see this interesting Heron, without calling it the Lady of the Waters. Watch its motions, as it leisurely walks over the pure sand beaches of the coast of Florida, arrayed in the full beauty of its spring plumage. Its pendent crest exhibits its glossy tints, its train falls gracefully over a well defined tail, and the tempered hues of its back and wings contrast with those of its lower parts. Its measured steps are so light that they leave no impression on the sand, and with its keen eye it views every object around with the most perfect accuracy. See, it has spied a small fly lurking on a blade of grass, it silently runs a few steps, and with the sharp point of its bill it has already secured the prey. The minnow just escaped from the pursuit of some larger fish has almost rushed upon the beach for safety; but the quick eye of the Heron has observed its motions, and in an instant it is swallowed alive. Among the herbage yet dripping with dew the beautiful bird picks its steps. Not a snail can escape its keen search, and as it moves around the muddy pool, it secures each water lizard that occurs. Now the sun's rays have dried up the dews, the flowers begin to droop, the woodland choristers have ended their morning concert, and like them, the Heron, fatigued with its exertions, seeks a place of repose under the boughs of the nearest bush, where it may in safety await the coolness of the evening. Then for a short while it again searches for food. Little difficulty does it experience in this; and at length, with the last glimpse of day, it opens its wings, and flies off towards its well-known roosting-place, where it spends the night contented and happy.” John James Audubon, Birds of America
If only I could write like this…………………………………
Nikon D7000, Nikkor 300m f/2.8, 1/100 second @ f/5